Written by Brian Mass
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FORT COLLINS, Colorado (KCNC) – A Loveland man was jailed overnight in April on suspicion of alcohol consumption, and he had no drugs or alcohol in his system according to a newly released lab report from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
“I know for a fact that I’m 100% sober, and it’s not going to look good,” Derek Groves, 36, said of the arrest. “I didn’t have anything in my system.”
Groves told CBS4 that he now plans to sue the Fort Collins Police Department and the officer who imprisoned him, Jason Haverman. Groves was heading home from a friend’s house on the evening of April 7 when he lost control of his car in Fort Collins and went over a bridge. He said he looked at his phone and then over-corrected it, which led to the accident.
Groves was not hurt.
Eyewitnesses told Fort Collins police officers that Groves did not smell alcohol and appeared to be behaving normally.
A Fort Collins officer, Jason Haverman, asked Groves if he was drinking.
“Nothing,” Groves replied, who told Haverman that he was “100%” sober.
Groves admitted that he was essentially on probation after receiving a delayed ruling in the 2020 DUI case. Groves agreed to roadside sobriety tests. After a few minutes, Haverman said, “I see the lack of convergence in your eyes.. Either some kind of medical condition or medication. I believe her drugs.”
Groves told the officer that he had not taken drugs or alcohol. “I noticed Groves had bloodshot eyes and glass eyes, and his pupils appeared to be different in size,” Haverman said in police reports.
The officer went on to report that in the roadside maneuvers, Groves “did not complete it as a sober person.” Haverman said Groves also gave a baffling description of what happened and “his speech was slow and rough at times.”
Haverman Groves was arrested for careless driving and under the influence of drugs. In one report, the officer noted that it was likely marijuana or “other hallucinogens.”
“It felt like he was trying to get another personal identification document or something,” Groves told CBS4. “He didn’t believe me and thought he would register a DUI.”
Haverman testified that he made hundreds of DUI arrests during his time with the Fort Collins Police Services. Groves agreed to provide a blood sample at a local hospital, and again assured the officer that he was not under the influence. Groves was then booked into prison and said he was released about 18 hours later.
“It was terrifying. I would go to prison for something I didn’t do,” Groves said.
About two weeks ago, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation presented its test results saying alcohol was “undetected” and a screen of 14 drug abusers also showed “undetected.”
The District Attorney for the Eighth Judicial District dismissed the DUI charge after she received her toxicology results. The DA’s office said the report “showed no harmful substances.”
Prosecutors said a second sample provided by Fort Collins police “confirmed the negative test.”
Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Soboda said the CBI lab result “doesn’t mean there’s absolutely nothing in someone’s system.” He said the lab screen doesn’t detect some inhalants, drugs, and synthetics.
“There are many common materials in our community that don’t appear on that board being run,” Swoboda said. “It is not uncommon for an officer to make an arrest who is eventually fired.”
In Haverman’s case, the list of cases being dismissed is growing. Groves’ case is the fourth Haverman’s DUI case to be dismissed. Beyond Groves’ case, the DA office told CBS4, they were “aware that several of the cases investigated by Officer Jason Haverman have raised concerns about the adequacy of evidence.”
In the 2021 DUI case, two charges, including the DUI, were dismissed after Judge Sarah Keure said Haverman “lacks credibility.” His testimony was inconsistent. It altered the course of several key facts… Some of his testimony is not supported by evidence. In fact, some were at odds with the evidence.” The judge said Haverman “exaggerated” the case. Officer Haverman and the plaintiffs disagreed with the judge. In two other Haverman 2021 DUI cases, the 8th DA Judicial Circuit dismissed the DUI charges in both cases. When lab results showed no alcohol or drugs.The DA office said “neither drug nor alcohol was detected in the samples.” Matt Haltzman, an attorney representing Derek Groves, said, “I think Officer Haverman wasn’t just an exaggeration, it was a fabrication.”
Haltzmann continued, “The officer reports signs of weakness that do not exist. I think we are seeing an important pattern. This is an unlawful arrest without probable cause.” Haltzmann assumed that the officer was trying to “write down his numbers as much as possible”.
Soboda told CBS4 that all of these Haverman cases will be considered.
“We will always take it as a big deal if we make arrests that don’t hold up in court. That is something we will always look at.”
Asked if his agency owes Groves an apology, Soboda said, “I think it’s a bit premature. We’re definitely not there yet.”
While he was considering a potential lawsuit, Groves said he hopes the legal action will lead to change.
“I think these things have to stop,” Groves said. “It’s not fair to innocent people like me or the other people out there.”
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